Differences Between Alpha and Beta Glucose | Difference Between | Alpha vs Beta Glucose
Alpha vs Beta Glucose. Encountering the term “glucose” makes us think of something sweet, which is, of course, true. If you remember what you. This make the difference between cellulose and starch, Starch is a polymer of alpha glucose, allowing chemical access for enzymes to break it. α -D-glucose and β -D-glucose are stereoisomers - they differ in the 3- dimensional configuration of atoms/groups at one or more positions.
The naming system for sugars reflects this complexity. Chemists use prefixes like alpha and beta to denote different versions of glucose and other sugar molecules. To the uninitiated, these prefixes may seem mysterious, but once you understand sugar structure, their nature and purpose will become clearer.
Linear and Cyclic Each molecule of glucose has a carbon backbone with -OH groups and hydrogen atoms attached to it.
What is the difference between alpha and beta Glucose?
At the top of the chain, an oxygen atom is double-bonded to a carbon atom; collectively, these two atoms are called a carbonyl group. The carbon backbone of the glucose molecule can coil up so that an -OH group near the bottom end of the chain attacks the carbonyl carbon and the glucose molecule forms a ring.
This ring-shaped structure is the cyclic form of glucose, while the straight chain structure is the linear form. In solution, the cyclic form is by far the more common.
What is the difference between alpha and beta glucose?
Ring Formations Glucose can form either five-membered or six-membered rings. The six-membered ring is much more common, and in solution the vast majority of glucose molecules are found to have six-membered rings. Since linear and cyclic forms can inter-convert, however, no glucose molecule is ever fixed in the six-membered ring form; it can go back and forth. If we are to describe the molecules present in the alpha glucose, they are compressed but can be easily taken apart.
Difference Between Alpha and Beta Glucose | Definition, Structure, Properties
On the other hand, the beta glucose molecules are solidly packed; hence, they cannot be easily taken apart. In other words, the molecules of beta glucose are very stable. Chains of alpha glucose compose starch. Since the foundation of starch is alpha glucose, it can be easily broken down into simple sugars.
Meanwhile, chains of beta glucose compose cellulose. Unlike starch, cellulose is not easy to break down; hence it is a perfect, building material.
Differences Between Alpha and Beta Glucose
The tasty parts of plants are composed of starch while the hard parts of plants are made of cellulose. Since plants are our main sources for glucose, which comes in the form of starch and cellulose, we depend greatly on them.
For plants to store sugar, they need chains of alpha glucose to build starch. For plants to build structural material, they need chains of beta glucose to create cellulose.
Humans have the capacity to break down starch while we cannot break down cellulose. Though this is the situation, cellulose is still important in our body system because cellulose is otherwise known as fiber. Fiber plays an important role in our digestive system.
There are animals which can digest cellulose, specifically livestock animals such as horses, and cows. Termites can also break down the strong, structural form of cellulose. Alpha glucose and beta glucose were among the first isomers discovered by chemists.
Both are important forms of glucose which are essential in human metabolism.